10

Arabella

Near Kleinmond - Western Cape

Played this course? Review it now
Hotel GM: Mike Phillipson
Golf director: Mike Munro
Greenkeeper: Derick Bolton (STM)
Club captain: Dennis Marillier
CRITERIA SUMMARY: Total points 78.2 out of 100
Conditioning16.1 / 20
Playability15.7 / 20
Aesthetics12.8 / 15
Design Variety11.5 / 15
Shot Values10.8 / 15
Memorability11.3 / 15

Course Summary

Four tees / Par 72

Yellow, 6222 metres, CR74.0/141
White, 5813 metres, CR71.9/140
Blue, 5406 metres, CR70.0/132
Red, 4956 metres, CR67.8/127
Women’s blue, CR76.4/140
Women’s red, CR73.2/133

Visitor green fee

Affiliated R950,
Non-affiliated R1 535
Golf cart R495

Course designer

Peter Matkovich 1999

Contact

028 284 0105
www.arabellacountryestate.co.za

Previous ranking

9

Arabella is one of the country’s leading golf resorts, with a golf course that has been consistently ranked in the top 10 since it opened. It occupies one of the most beautiful sites in the world, on the Bot River Lagoon, overlooking distant mountain ranges and attractive countryside. A multi-storey hotel provides residents with the finest of views from lagoon-facing rooms. The accommodation and golf blend seamlessly together. You walk out of your room and descend by lift to the clubhouse on the ground floor.

The scenic Peter Matkovich layout has evolved magnificently over the last 20 years, both as a championship test that has regularly hosted Sunshine Tour events and one that is equally enjoyable for high handicaps. With the land sloping gently down to the water, the opening holes on each nine climb away from the hotel on to level ground before gradually falling away back to the spectacular closing holes on the shore of the lagoon.

Arabella is both a resort and a golf estate, albeit with a small number of permanent residents.

Additional Course Facts

Feature Holes

The closing holes on each nine border the Bot River Lagoon. On the front nine the par-5 eighth slopes downhill to a green tucked away in the wetlands, followed by a short par 4 where a bold tee shot must carry the shoreline. From the front tee the green is in range. On the back nine the intimidating par-3 17th is alongside the water; the round finishes with a challenging par 5 that doglegs right around the edge of the lagoon to the green. The short par 4 16th hole has been remodelled in recent years, with the fairway and bunkering moved further right away from homes.

Accommodation

The five-star Arabella Hotel & Spa offers a fitness centre, award-winning spa, swimming pools, and a variety of outdoor activities. The multi-storey hotel has magnificent views over the Bot River Lagoon. The spa is home to the African Rainforest Treatment, a two-hour sensory water and steam treatment. It is part of the African Pride hotel group.

Practice Facility

A warm-up range for short/medium irons close to the clubhouse, and a short game area. Teaching lessons by Andre Loots, a young local professional from nearby Kleinmond.

Did You Know

1/ Arabella has been a constant in the Top 10 since its entry in 2002. Its highest ranking has been No 4.

2/ Arabella was originally the site of a farm called Laughing Waters whose owner Barry Wasdale astutely saw its potential and acquired zoning rights for a golf course. The name Arabella came from its early German owners.

3/ Arabella has hosted numerous Vodacom Origins of Golf tournaments on the Sunshine Tour.

4/ Arabella hosted the Nelson Mandela Invitational
4 times between 2003 and 2006, starring top players and celebrities, plus the 2012 World Final of the Audi quattro Cup.

5/ Golfers generally use carts, but walkers are welcome.

Course Record

64, Alan Michell, Doug McGuigan, 2006 Coca-Cola Championship on Sunshine Tour;
Lee Westwood at NMI and Jake Roos in 2018 club medal

Club Champions

2021 Neil Brown & Keneilwe Moloko
2020 Dave Thompson & Amanda Lourens
2019 Dave Thompson & Gail Witcomb

Course and Facilities Rating
Conditioning Ratings
Greens
Bunkers
Tees
Fairways
Presentation
Overall Conditioning
Facility Ratings
Pace of Play
Practice Range
Halfway House
Pro Shop
Service
Locker Room
19th Hole
Course Etiquette
Course Reviews
Arabella is looking magnificent. The golf course has benefited from a significant bunker upgrade during the winter months under greenkeeper Derick Bolton who has served Arabella so loyally since it opened 22 years ago. New sand in all 72 bunkers, and some elegant reshaping, has noticeably boosted the already attractive Aesthetics of the resort layout. The dazzling white bunker faces give many holes extra definition and sparkle viewing from the tee box, notably on the uphill tenth. The 11th has two prominent new bunkers on the right of the fairway which vastly improve the profile of a good par 4 that previously had a weak outlook from the tee. The greens are simply outstanding. And I welcome the construction of a simple starter's hut at the first hole. An essential requirement for a resort facility, being both an attractive feature and shelter for the starter.
Stuart McLean
20 August 2021
Always a treat to play a great layout that is exceptionally well conditioned. Arabella has stunning design variety and a high memorability factor. The team there under Mike Munro have excelled.
David Frost
29 December 2020
View more reviews
A beautiful finish to each nine which leaves a lasting impression.
Keith Simpson
21 December 2020
Arabella has come of age this year, celebrating its 21st anniversary, and it continues to sparkle as one of our premier golf resorts. One of its most endearing features to me is the ease of access for golfers staying in the hotel, which is now part of the Tsogo Sun group. The clubhouse is on the ground floor, and the first tee a short walk away. It's a golf course with many strong holes, yet the playability of the layout is exactly what you want from a resort experience. Riding golf carts, our fourball went round all 18 holes in just under four hours, even with the occasional hunt for stray golf balls. The scenic finishing holes on each nine, each unique in their design, are stunning, and they elevate Arabella into a special category of golf course. Currently the conditioning is right up there with the best I've seen at Arabella, and the greens can only get better now that hollow-tining is over.
Stuart McLean
14 October 2020
The course looked wonderful with all the spring flowers. Recent hollow-tining of the greens didn't spoil the round. I was impressed with the bunkering changes on Nos 4, 10, 13, 15 and 18. Not just aesthetically appealing but making these holes more playable, especially the new bunkering left of the 18th green. Thanks to my playing partners, Albert, Enslin and Sneaky Pete, who made the afternoon more fun than I expected!
Brent Kleve
03 October 2020
Course in excellent condition, lots of attention to detail. Greens are brilliant, smooth, true and run at 10.5 on the stimp. Fairways are like carpets. A must play 🏌️😊 Well done Arabella .
Henry Trevena
07 August 2020
It is an absolute pleasure to play Arabella. It is often a windy course, making the length even more challenging. The greens, fringes and bunkers are as good as you will get in the Cape. There are several memorable holes; the par-5 eighth coming down a steep hill; the par-3 17th alongside the lagoon; and a great risk-reward finishing hole. I would wager Arabella has the best set of par-3s of any course west of Fancourt. On the downside, service is perennially poor, the bar expensive and limited.
Hamish Houston
20 March 2020

We played Arabella on a beautiful afternoon and the conditioning was superb. The presentation was world class, worthy of its Top 10 ranking. What's impressive is the variety of shot-making from the varied tees. Some of the tees were set back, making for long carries. From shorter tees it was still a challenge. Arabella holds firm in my personal Top 10. A credit to the crew at a stunning course!

Jon James
17 March 2020
Submit Your Review & Ratings

HAVE YOU PLAYED Arabella RECENTLY?

If you've played this course recently, why not tell us all about it? Follow the link to our review section, complete our grading criteria and give us some details on your experience. If selected, your review will appear amongst the course’s collection of player reviews.

Course Location
Other Top 100 Courses in the Area
  • Pearl Valley
    Near Paarl, Winelands
    RANKED 2
  • Erinvale
    Somerset West
    RANKED 27
  • Hermanus – East course
    Hermanus
    RANKED 45